OK, OK….it’s June! But you know no one ever celebrates “Christmas in June.” So play along, my furry friends!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year for this tennis fan! Wimbledon is here!
The draw came out today. It’s like getting to open that one special gift under the tree that you’re allowed to open on Christmas Eve!
Reviewing first round matches is one of my favorite things to do. The anticipation and perceived expectations of Wimbledon are HUGE, so I always like to imagine which matches will be bah-humbug predictable and which matches will roast on an open fire (the dreaded “upset”). Of course, I never like to think of a match outcome as an “upset” because there is always a winner and there is nothing upsetting about that! At the end of the day, someone is happy they won and gets to move further in the draw.
With the exception of injuries. There is nothing happy about that outcome. The injured player is hurt, and the “winner” feels bad for the injured player. But, I also like to begin a tournament with the hope that no one is or gets injured and everyone is stays healthy! What can I say? I’m an optimist!
I will breaking down the first round matches into two posts, one for the men’s draw and one for the women’s. So stay tuned, and I’ll give my inside take.
Paw your calendars, set your alarms and wake your humans! Wimbledon starts bright and early Monday, June 28! Let the festivities begin!
Hubert (Hubi) Hurkacz was summoned to do a press conference after his win today against Thomas Fabbiano. When he got there, there were no journalists on the Zoom, so he just sat in awkward silence, waiting. After a bit, he was allowed to leave.
He was cool about it. Polite and laughed it off. Turns out, this was an ill-communicated press conference and there were no journalists in the Zoom! That’s unfortunate because you have the winner of the last Masters 1000 event in front of you. He’s not one of the Big Three, or a trouble maker who makes a fool of himself on court. If you ask me, that makes him more interesting! I would have a lot to ask! I want to know more!
Tiny confession…my human is half Polish, so we are huge fans of anything that is from Poland! We make sure Grandma knows that Poland is being proudly represented on both the men’s and women’s tennis tours. I like Hurkacz, Kubot and Swiatek! And the others!
Anyway, I thought maybe I could right this wrong, and interview him, myself! Now, I know it takes two people to conduct an interview and I haven’t been in touch with Hubi. I’ve never been to journalism school, so some of my questions might not fit into a traditional press conference room setting, but seeing how the other journalists had ZERO questions, I figured I’d try my paw at an interview! Here we go!
How did you feel you played on court today?
2. It took three sets to secure your win? Was there any point in the match when you thought you’d lose?
3. You had your first Masters 1000 win in Miami last week! Congratulations! What did you do to celebrate?
4. With only a week between tournaments, how do you find the transition from hard court to clay courts?
5. Are you a fan of clay? What’s your favorite shot on clay?
6. What’s your favorite tournament and why?
7. How often do you get to go home to Poland?
8. I see that you were born and raised in Wroclaw! That is one of my favorite cities! Do you have a favorite gnome?
9. You play Dan Evans next. What do you think of him as a person? Are you friends with him on tour?
10. How will you prepare for the match?
OK, well thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and good luck with the rest of the tournament!
What should be a slow tennis news week has turned into “What’s happening now?” Some good news, some bad news, and some news that’s not news at all.
I saw today in tennis news that young Canadian rising star, Felix Auger-Alliassime, has added Uncle Toni to his weaponry on the eve of the Monte Carlo Masters next week! To which I say…Yes, please! I fully support this decision. Felix is raw talent and who better to assist on the clay than Rafa Nadal’s forever-coach, Uncle Toni Nadal!! This makes me so happy, I could roar!
I also saw on the news today that the French Open is being postponed by one week. What??? They are saying the reason is due to France’s third national lockdown due to a surge in Covid-19 cases. I’m no scientist, but will a week really make a difference? I appreciate them trying to be safe. And these are difficult decisions to make, especially when it impacts the players and the rest of the tour schedule. But a week? Hmmm….It’s just a total drag! That is all!
And third, I just want to mention how happy I am to see Ash Barty back on tour. She’s one of my favorite female players and she basically nowhere to be found last year (on tour)! So, I am super excited to see her playing again! I am an Ash fan!
He played his first match in Doha today since the pandemic sent everything into a grinding halt last year. Honestly, he would have taken this hiatus whether we had the pandemic or not. He announced he would be out for knee surgery last year at this time.
He played Englishman, Dan Evans in round 2 of the Qatar ExxonMobile Open and, kittens, he looked purty good!
The first set was close and went to a tiebreak that Federer won, 7-6. Evans got the best of the second set, 6-3. And then Federer snapped back to and won the third set 7-5. It was a close match the whole way. Dan Evans was in good form, so it could have gone either way.
Even though, earlier this year, I said that Federer should retire, it was really great to see him back on court!
Also back in play this week…Dominic Theim, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, and all the players in between!! It’s going to be an excellent week of tennis for this old cat!
Hi Furriends! We are kicking off the 2021 tennis season with a bang! I, fur one, have been following the WTA event in Abu Dhabi and the ATP event in Del Ray Beach. There’s also been an ATP event in Antalya, Turkey.
Well, the women’s final is finished and just look at this trophy!
This could be the most beautiful trophy I have ever seen! Those look like real roses, too! I mean, that is classy times 10! Just magnificent!
Not to take away anything from the winner, Aryna Sabalenka! I was able to watch most of this tournament, and she was purrty darn flawless. She is going to have a great 2021 season, I just know it!
In addition, Alex De Minaur won the trophy at the Antalya Open in Turkey.
Some may say this is just a bowl, but I think it’s lovely! There are a lot of interesting, unique trophies that get awarded throughout the tennis season, and I like this one! I can’t tell what it’s made out of, but it looks like some type of blown glass. If I were Alex, I would opt for a displaying this one on a shelf and choose a lesser bowl for my cat treats.
The season is just getting started, so hold on to your roses and fruit bowls because this is going to be a wild ride!
It’s that time of year again…new year, new beginnings, new resolutions. I, for one, always make one solitary resolution each year – to watch as much tennis as I can!
Reader warning: this post will include some very UNPOPULAR opinions, so read with caution AND an open mind. This is only one feline’s opinion, so read with interest, but leave purrsonal feelings for any one player out of it.
OK, now that that’s out of the way, here we go!
Dominic Thiem – I resolve to win at least one major this season. If I had my preference, it would be the French Open. I know that Frazier has been predicting my success at Roland Garros for years now, so I resolve to make it so!
Stefanos Tsitsipas – I resolve to cut my hair! I know most of my fans have grown accustomed to my pirate-like locks, but hey, even Roger Federer eventually cut his hair and turned out to look quite handsome. I also resolve to stop being “Greek philosopher” on social media. I’m just a 20-something year old guy trying to make my way in the world. I don’t always have to be the Jack Handy of the ATP and have Deep Thoughts.
Adidas and Nike – We resolve to design tennis kits that are shocking, bold, innovative! We want to give viewers something to talk about.
Coco Gauff – I resolve to make it to at least a quarterfinal of a grand slam this year! Yes, yes…I know I am only 16 years old, but I have raw talent. Some would even call me a phenom. I recognize this is a lot of pressure, but at the very least…I will try my best!
Jen Brady – I resolve to build on the momentum of the last half of 2020 and make it to at least one grand slam final! I want to give Frazier and the rest of the tennis fans some American tennis to be proud of! I’m good. I’m really good, and I can’t wait for 2021 to improve on my successes!
Vika Azarenka – I resolve to win at least one grand slam this year, maybe the US Open! I know that, at 31 years old, time may not be on my side, but have you seen what Serena has been able to accomplish after 30? I got this!
Roger Federer – (OK furriends, here’s where it might get dicey…I warned you) – I resolve to retire. I am arguably the best male tennis player of all time. I have nothing more to prove. I am 39 years old. I missed most of 2020 due to surgeries on my right knee, not the pandemic. I have already withdrawn from this year’s Australian Open, but I will be focusing on Wimbledon and the Summer Olympics. I think it’s time to officially call it a day, and retire. Retire with dignity, like Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi!
Serena Williams – (again, I warned you) – I resolve to retire. I am undoubtedly the best tennis player, male or female, of all time. I have nothing more to prove. I’ve beat all the records. I’m an icon! I have a beautiful family who loves and supports me. My life is full. I have it all, and then some!
All tennis players – we resolve to follow the rules! All of the rules. We are still lucky enough to play our sport globally, even during a worldwide pandemic. Tournament officials have certain health and safety protocols in place so that we can continue to travel, play and make our livings doing what we love. We must respect them and do as they say. They are working with experts on this, and hey, we are just tennis players, not scientists. We will trust they are working in our best interest because we are working in everyone’s self interest…including the fans who have patiently waited for the return of tennis!
OK feline friends, what do you think? Will any of these resolutions come to fruition? I guess we will just have to wait and see.
The tennis season opens this week with two tournaments for the men, the Delray Beach Open in Florida and the Antalya Open in Turkey, and one tournament for the women, the Abu Dhabi Open. The first grand slam, the Australian Open, which usually takes place toward the end of January, has been pushed back to February 8. They played a little shuffleboard with the tournament schedule this year, but that’s OK. It’s keep me on my paws and I will be sure to bring you all of the excitement of the 2021 tennis season.
Here we are, furriends! New Year’s Eve…one of my favorite nights of the year. Frazier’s Racket has completed its fourth year out in the world, and I am purr-oud of myself for allowing my paws to strike the keyboard once again.
Like every New Year’s Eve, I like to reflect on the past year. We can all admit that 2020 was a real stinker! The global pandemic struck the entire globe with such force, it was difficult to find an ounce of light or hope in the world. For tennis, it started with the cancellation of Indian Wells, and then rippled through the men’s and women’s tour schedule with such force. There were exhibition tournaments, some thoughtful, safe and successful and some held with recklessness, foolishness, and little thought of the safety and life of others. I do not want to dwell on those events or the people who organized such exhibition tournaments.
I knew there was a glimmer of hope for tennis when the US Open managed to save the season and hosted a grand slam tournament like no other! The entire Billie Jean King National Tennis Center was closed to spectators and it looked like a cool summer camp for the pros! Arthur Ashe Stadium had private suites for the top players, so that they could watch the matches, size up their competition, and cheer for their mates from the comfort of their own space. The stands were silenced of cheering fans and the roars of the crowd, so it was up to each individual player to muster up the guts and will to play their best games. At the end of it all, Dominic Thiem captured his first grand slam title (of many, I hope!). I know this will never happen again, but roaring for myself, I thought it was super cool!
Roland Garros was played in September, after the US Open, instead of its usual Springtime soiree! No surprise that Rafa Nadal was the lone man hoisting the trophy! And surprise…unseeded Polish player, Iga Swiatek, handily won the women’s title, beating Sophia Kenin 6-4, 6-1.
But enough about them, let’s talk about me! After a year and a half hiatus, I returned to writing! And even though I didn’t get back to it until September, I still think I had a successful year.
Here is how Frazier’s Racket purrformed in 2020.
Number of views: 1903
Number of visitors: 1608
Number of posts: 20
Number of WordPress followers: 326
Number of Facebook followers: 48
Number of Twitter followers: 384
Even after all these years, my most popular post to date is The Gold Chain Epidemic . This uncovers the wild obsession men have with gold chains. I would put this one on your reading list fur 2021!
I’m looking forward to what 2021 might bring. It has to be better than what 2020 dished up! Hold tight and I will be sure to fill you in on the latest racket that happens around the tennis court.
What’s better than courtside seats? What do you get when you have a tennis tournament sponsored by a mattress company? Court side beds!
That’s right, kitty cats. You can kick your feet up and lounge while watching your favorite players battle it out at the bett1 HULKS Indoors in Cologne, Germany! The mattresses are propped up like a Craftmatic Adjustable bed (as seen on MTV’s Remote Control, circa 1989) for maximum comfort!
Apparently, bett1 is the #1 selling mattress in Germany, according to their website. I purrsonally think this is a genius marketing scheme. Being an American house cat, I’ve never heard of this brand, and of course, it made me Google them! Good on you, bett1!
In addition to courtside comfort, there’s also a house band! That’s right! In between changeovers, sets, or medical timeouts, they have a band that provides live entertainment. Their purrty good, if I meow so myself. And when the chair umpire declares “Time” in their deep, ominous voice, the band stops, right on cue.
Looks like a swell good time, a real spectacle, if you could be there. But you can’t. No spectators this year. You know why. I can assume that the kittos enjoying the courtside beds are ball kids or something.
Meanwhile, there is also a tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia this week. And just like the Laker Girls or the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, St. Petersburg has courtside entertainment. Dancers, clad in anything from I Dream of Genie-esque outfits, to full shimmering white body suits (with face coverings to match, of course). They strut out at various times, circling the court, and perform their choreographed number. Hips swaying, hands clapping! And when the sounds turns off, they strut right back behind the magic curtains. (Sorry, no pictures…they are hard to capture).
So even though I can’t be courtside at either one of these cool tournies, I will settle with watching from the luxury of my own comfy sofa!
Last night, while watching the women’s semifinal match between Jennifer Brady and Naomi Osaka, ESPN commentator, Chrissie Evert said if she had gone to college, she would have had fewer husbands!
What does this have to do with tennis, you ask? To put this in context, they were talking with the legendary Billie Jean King about the Original 9 and the 50th anniversary of the WTA. Billie Jean was making the point that she is in favor of players going to college before turning pro. College helps with socialization and organizational skills, which are beneficial when transitioning to being an independent agent. (Listen up, athletics programs eager to cut programs to save $$$. Tennis is usually one of the first to go, sadly).
To put this into further context, they were talking about how going to UCLA, after spending time at the Evert Tennis Academy, helped Jennifer Brady improve her game, both on court and off. Just before Billie Jean was on, they had Brady’s tennis coach from UCLA, Stella Sampras (yes, Pete Sampras’s sister…HI Pete!) on, discussing Brady’s overall improvement while at UCLA.
And all of this led to Chrissie’s admission: If I had gone to college, I would have fewer husbands. She also said something about the unforced error was the new power. Ummm….really? OK, Chrissie. Thanks for that!
All of this was interesting fodder, I just wish it wasn’t happening during match play. I mean, show some respect towards the players…Jennifer Brady played remarkable tennis last night…going toe to toe with Naomi Osaka! One of the best semifinal matches I have seen in a LONG time! 7-6, 3-6, 6-3! Not too shabby, Jen! Congrats Jenny Brady on a great run at the US Open!
You would have to be hiding under a rock (or in a seriously deep cat nap) to not see what shook the tennis world this weekend at the US Open. Novak Djokovic hit a line judge in the throat with a tennis ball, and then was defaulted from his match.
I’m not going to spend too much time on this, but a lot of cool cats have been asking about it, so here is what I think:
He broke a rule, therefore he should be penalized. He intentionally hit a ball recklessly within the court with negligent disregard of the consequences. He is not above the rules, although sometimes he acts like he is. He received the penalty that was warranted.
It’s unfortunate that the chair umpire didn’t warn him of his other violations before this incident…smashing the ball toward the side fence when he missed a volley at the net, not wearing the proper face coverings when he had his injury time out. Maybe had those violations been called, he would have been more diligent of keeping his actions in control.
It is also unfortunate that someone was injured during this incident. I’m sure the line judge didn’t asked to be thrust into the spotlight. It’s unfortunate that Djokovic’s most obsessed fans have harassed this line judge and have made death threats towards her. Honestly? Come on, we are better than that!
Now that this is over, let’s get back to business of tennis!
I took a bit of a kitty vacay last year, and then tennis took a little tenny vacay this year, but guess what? Real tennis starts today and I can’t be more excited!
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock…or a bed, or a blanket fort (my favorite place to hide), you know that 2020 has been the most unusual of all years I’ve been around. A horrible pandemic brought the world to a screeching halt in March, and it has taken months to slowly get back to some type of “normal.”
No, things aren’t totally back to how they were, and I’m not going to focus on the negative of what “was.” I have my sights on what “is”, and what that is right now is real, live professional tennis that matters.
The Western and Southern Open, aka the Cincy Open, will begin in a matter of a few minutes, and all the top stars, sans Federer and Nadal, will be there! Novak, Dominic, Serena. And you know I’ll be watching!
Now don’t get confused. Yes, this is the Cincy Open, (as in Cincinnati), but it’s being played in New York City this year! It’ll serve as the warm up tournament to the US Open. It’s a Masters 1000 event, meaning 1000 ranking points are on the line. This is no joke!
Yes, New York City…concrete jungle where dreams are made of! Maybe this is the year that Dominic Thiem finally wins a major. He’s been to the finals many times now, but he’s never been able to win the big one. Or maybe it’s our favorite Greek, Stefanos Tsitsipas, who won the ATP Finals last year in London…which I attended and it was totally awesome! (Maybe I’ll tell you about that some time) We’ll just have to wait and see.
I’ll be sure to keep you in the know of all things tennis. So, stay tuned! And welcome back, TENNIS!
Kitties and furry furriends, I believe I just woke up from the world’s longest cat nap! And for that, I am terribly sorry!
To make up for my extended absence, here are some cute pictures of cats with tennis balls.
I’m ready for practice, Mom.
Look Mom, I’m a tennis ball!
Wait a second, this is NOT a tennis ball!
Apparently, I’ve missed a few things.
I missed the entire Australian Open! Novak Djokovic is on his comeback tour and won that! He thinks he’s going to win the French Open, but I think there are other players eyeing that prize, namely, Rafa Nadal! However, he did not play very well at the Monte Carlo Masters event this past week.
I missed Indian Wells and the Miami Open! Looks like there is a new home for the Miami Open, but not everyone was impressed with it.
I missed the beginning of clay court season! How sad is that? I usually write a poem to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year! No poem…I’m still a bit groggy from my nap!
But I’m awake now, and I am ready to conquer this clay court season. My next post is long overdue, but it will be my current top ten clay court players…revisited from the list I made two years ago. There are some players who have gone away and some new ones that need the lime light!
Andy Murray is in pain. And when Andy Murray is in pain, we all feel it.
Yesterday in his Australian Open press conference, he announced that he will retire this year. He is hoping to make it to Wimbledon, but he’s just not sure. He has been struggling with a bad hip for almost two years and now, the pain is just too unbearable for him to continue. In his heart wrenching press conference yesterday, I could not keep up with how many times he mentioned how much pain he is in. To even put on his socks and shoes is painful. To watch him walk around the tennis court, hunched over at his hip, struggling to get from point A to point B is painful for us, his fans, to watch.
I had a sense at that time that he would not be able to make a full recovery, but I always hoped he would be back. But the inevitable happened and he is retiring. We will miss you, Andy! I know we will still see you around. Maybe coaching or commentating, or just sitting in the Royal Box at Wimbledon each year. So many things to love about you, but your passion for the game stands out as tops!
I hope you have a great season. The tennis world will be watching with admiration and wonderment.